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Archives 02-07-2007

Sports

Lady Cats victorious over Jackson County
Wildcats win over Blue Devils, Owls
Thurman helps Lady Lions in recent wins

 

Lady Cats victorious over Jackson County

Kassie Hunley/OCN Sports
Alissa Sells cuts inside for a basket against the Lady Blue Devils at Gainesboro.

By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
At 6' 8", Smith County's Kayci Farris is perhaps the tallest girls high school basketball player in the state. Her height alone makes her a formable obstacle to any opponent, and somewhere along the line she's determined to play her college ball at the University of Tennessee and be a star.

Recently Farris told one of the Nashville television stations she was going to UT and be the next Candace Parker. Parker is one of the best players in the nation.

"She may go to UT, and she may be a good player, but right now she's no Candace Parker," Livingston Academy's Ashley Matthew flatly pointed out Friday night after the Lady Wildcats toppled Farris and her Smith County teammates in commanding fashion, 56-42.

Farris got her normal 20 plus points, but she didn't compare to 5"6" Matthews .

LA head coach Lesley Smith said, "That may have been Ashley's best game ever at Livingston Academy. She did everything from taking a couple rebounds from Farris to nailing more points. She played her heart out tonight, and I was so proud of her."

Farris scored 23 points, grabbed more rebounds than anyone on the floor, and had 4 blocked shots in one period; but it still wasn't enough to topple Livingston. Matthews nailed 25 points and simply controlled the tempo of the entire game.

And she got a lot of help. Inside, Brittany McCoin played perhaps her best game as a Lady Wildcat, going toe to toe with the much taller Farris and coming away with 6 points, but just as important, she never gave an inch inside.

"Well," McCoin started out, "you have to respect her height, but you have to figure a way to hold her out, and tonight we just went at her as hard as we could and it paid off.

"Kendria (Kilgore) faked her one way and scored the other way, and Britany (Smith) just never gave up inside.

"I have to agree with Coach Smith, this was our best game so far. I thought our game with Jackson County Tuesday was a good one, but this was even better."

The inside muscle of McCoin, Kilgore, and Smith, along with Mallie Stephens' always strong defensive play all over the floor and Alison West's 14 points, assured the Lady Cats of no worse than a second place finish in the regular season. And wins in their final two district games this week against Cannon County and rival Upperman could land them in a tie for the district's top spot.

West said, "You know she (Farris) is going to get her points. "That's a given. When you play them, you just have to keep everyone else from getting theirs, and we did that.

"This was a really good team effort, and it looks like now we are hitting our stride down the stretch, and it couldn't have come at a better time.

"We played a good game against Jackson County on Tuesday night, and then came back tonight with another good game. We just need to keep it up next week, then carry the momentum into the district tournament.

Livingston started the week by taking on old nemesis Jackson County in Gainesboro, and at the end of the first period, were trailing by 9. Things didn't look all that good.

Coach Smith said, "We didn't play good defense early in the game, but once we started playing good defense, everything fell into place. We are working so hard on defense, and it was good to see the hard work finally starting to pay off."

In the second period, the Lady Cats held Jackson County to only 6 points and closed the gap to 24-20. In the third frame it all came together as Livingston ripped the cords for 10 points while holding the Lady Blue Devils to only 2, and going into the final 8 minutes led 30-26.

Using the defense again in the fourth period, LA allowed the home team only 7 points while scoring 11 of their own for the 41-33 win. Matthews topped the LA scoring attack with 15 points, while West was close behind with 13. Alissa Sells had 5, and Kilgore added 4.

Before Friday's game at Smith County, Coach Smith applauded her team's defensive effort on Tuesday night.

"That is what we have worked on, and against Jackson we did it the way it should be done," Coach Smith explained. "We got behind by about 10, I think, but we didn't panic and played steady for three straight periods. It paid off, and I just hope we have realized how important defense is and will do it again tonight (Friday) and then next week."

In Friday's game, it was almost a repeat of Tuesday's contest. Livingston fell behind 11-8 in the first period, then the defense kicked in, and for most of the second period, the Lady Owls had trouble just getting the ball across the half-court line. Time after time, a steal by West or Matthews resulted in Livingston points.

In the second period, LA scored 18 points while holding Smith County to 8. And in the third frame, it was a 16-9 LA advantage that spelled the difference.

Matthews said, "Those two games are definitely our best two games of the season. We've worked on it (defense) hard in practice, and now we are seeing just how important it is.

"I think we've held the other team to single points in four or five of the last six periods in single numbers. Its coming together, and its coming at the right time."

Now at 21-6 overall and 8-2 in District 7-AA, the Lady Wildcats will host Upperman on Friday, Feb. 9, after hosting Cannon County on Tuesday, Feb. 6. LA will close the regular season with a game at Cookeville High School on Monday, Feb. 12.

 

 

Wildcats win over Blue Devils, Owls

Kassie Hunley/OCN Sports
Jeremy McLearran bounces a pass to a Livingston Academy Wildcats teammate.

By MAC McLEOD, OCN Sports
Sometimes you're lucky and sometimes you're good. If you are good, you don't need much luck. When you're not having a good day, then it's much better to be lucky.

Such could be said about the Livingston Academy Wildcats last week as they were simply good in a 60-48 payback win over rival Jackson County on Tuesday night, Jan. 30. Friday, things weren't going exactly right, so with a little luck late in the game, they were able to come from behind and upend Smith County 48-42.

"I'm not sure it was luck," LA head coach Richard Melton said after Friday's District 7-AA win over Smith County, "but I will say we were horrible in the first half and had to play much better in the second half to win. I was sure glad to get out of there with a win."

In as much as Friday's game was not so pretty, Tuesday's outing may have been one of the Wildcats' best showings of the season. It was revenge for an earlier 66-62 loss for one thing, and on the other hand, it was a steady performance from start to finish.

Senior forward Tyson Stover said of the win over Jackson County, "Other than the free throws I missed, it was a good game. We got behind but never lost our composure, and we just steadily came back until we got on top, then we stayed there.

"Our defense was pretty good, and after a slow start, I thought we played pretty good."

Stover was pretty much right on the money recalling Tuesday's game.

Livingston fell behind 16-14 at the end of the first period, and only outscored the Blue Devils 13-12 in the second frame to trail by a point at 28-27 at intermission.

Then in the third period, the defense kicked in. Jackson County managed only 6 points, while Stover and his teammates, including Chase Dunn, and Jeremy McLearran and Deven Ramsey, rolled off 9 straight points at one point to jump ahead 43-34 going into the final 8 minutes.

In the final frame, Everley hit 5 straight points and Todd Smith 5 free throws as the Wildcats pulled away to their 18th win of the season against 9 losses.

Dunn led the LA attack with 15 points, while McLearran added 12 and Smith was good for 10. Everley added 8 and Stover 7 to round out the balanced attack.

Coach Melton said, "Jeremy played one of his best games of the season, and Clint (West) was so good on defense. Defense wins games, and Tuesday night we played good defense.

"And I was pleased that when we got behind early, we didn't rush things trying to catch up. That's the mark of a seasoned team."

Heading to Carthage on Friday, Feb. 2, the Wildcats were knotted with Upperman for the top spot in the district after the Bees dropped a decision to York on Tuesday. A win against the Owls would assure LA of no worse than a second place finish in the district, regardless of what happens this week in the final two league games of the regular season. A win over the Owls was critical.

But in the dimly lit gym of Smith County, things didn't get off to a good start at all for the Wildcats. Livingston went almost 4 minutes before Dunn finally got points on the board, and at the end of the initial period, the two teams claimed 11 points each.

Then in the second period, the rebounds went the wrong way, the top slammed shut on the LA basket, and the Owls found a way to work the back door bucket to perfection. Livingston scored just 7 points in the period, while the home team put 15 on the board. At intermission, the Owls led 26-18.

"That was not very pretty at all," Melton continued. "Sometimes it goes like that, but we are a much better team than that. We didn't get good play from our post players, our shots were going inside, and we couldn't hit anything from outside. As a matter of fact, this was the first game of the year I think, we didn't make a three.

"In addition to all that, we weren't getting any rebounds. As hard as we thought we were trying, we just weren't in the right spot at the right time."

At one point in the second period, Smith County got six attempts at a basket before finally making it.

But in the final two periods, the Wildcats regained composure and control and outscored the home team 30-16.

Livingston trailed by a point at 36-35 going into the final period, but a bucket by Stover to open the final period put the Wildcats on top for the first time of the night. West then created a 5-second violation on the Owls and Ramsey converted on the other end of the floor, and suddenly the Cats had pulled away to a 6-point lead.

Smith County closed to within 3 with 47 seconds remaining, but Stover hit three straight free throws to seal the win.

"There's no sure win in the district this year," Coach Melton concluded, "and this win is a big one for us. We face Cannon County and Upperman next week to round out the regular season, and you know the Upperman game will be big. Thank goodness it's at our place, and you know it will be packed.

"We played very well, I thought, on Tuesday night at Jackson County, and we got away with a win here tonight. We'll take it and move on."

Dunn led Livingston in scoring with 14 points, well below his season average. Everley picked up some of the slack with 12 points, and Ramsey had 10, which balanced the attack. McLearran added 6, and Stover had 5 on the night.

After hosting Cannon County on Tuesday, Feb. 6, Livingston Academy will host Upperman on Friday, Feb. 9. The final regular season game will be at Cookeville on Monday night, Feb. 12, then tournament action will get underway at Baxter later next week.

 

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Thurman helps Lady Lions in recent wins

Former Livingston Academy standout Kellie Thurman scored in double figures in recent wins for the Bryan College Lady Lions.

Thurman scored 12 points in the Lady Lions' 83-77 conference win over the Cavaliers of Montreat College on Saturday, Jan. 27 in Montreat, NC.

The Overton County junior scored 15 points and pulled down 8 rebounds in a 77-57 win over Bluefield College's Lady Rams on Tuesday, Jan. 23 in Dayton.

 

 

 

 

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